I wasn’t sure what to blog about today. I’m still in a post-Christmas stupor of wine, candy, piles of new books (yay!), whipping the WIP into shape to be sent in, playing with the dogs with their new toys, etc. I’ve also been wasting lots of time reading other blogs–beauty product blogs, opera blogs, movie blogs, whatever looks interesting. On some of my favorite movie blogs, they have had a meme going around listing 20 favorite actresses, which I have really enjoyed following. On these blogs, “favorite” can mean anything–most beautiful, most interesting, actresses you will watch in any movie no matter how bad. So I decided to do something like that.

These are 20 favorites. 10 actresses and 10 actors, which I find to be especially useful when needing some inspiration for characters. They’re not necessarily the best actors (though some definitely are), but they are interesting in many ways. (And, btw, if you need a pick-me-up kind of movie this dismal time of year, run out and see Happy-Go-Lucky. It’s fabulous, definitely my favorite of the movies I’ve seen this year, and I hope to see Sally Hawkins in the Oscar line-up next month. I didn’t much like her as Anne Elliott, but she is perfect in this movie).

Ten Actresses:

Charlotte Gainsbourg

Audrey Tautou (I do like French movies…)

Penelope Cruz

Cate Blanchett

Keira Knightley

Emily Mortimer

Nicole Kidman

Natalie Portman

Rachel Weisz

Kate Winslet

And Ten Actors:

Orlando (of course!)

Matthew McFadyen

James McAvoy

James Franco (I love how he can be both intense and hilarious!)

Hugh Jackman

Rufus Sewell (btw, does anyone know what this movie is???)

David Tennant

Christian Bale

Gerard Butler (Happy Holidays, Diane!)

Clive Owen (And Happy Holidays to Megan, too!)

Who are some of your favorite “inspirations”? Seen any good movies this holiday season, or found any good bargains in the post-Christmas sales?

See you in 2009! (And be sure and join me next weekend as I “launch” my January book, High Seas Stowaway. There will be giveaways and fun pirate stuff, though sadly no warm sandy beaches…)

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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26 Responses to Inspirations

  1. Todd says:

    Aha! I have discovered a theme to your selection: “20 people who are more beautiful than Todd!” πŸ™‚



  2. I’m very fond of Ioan Gruffudd and have him on my inspiration bulletin board. He is so fabulous all the way through the HH series as he grows from the naive, seasick vomiting boy to the honorable, doomed husband.Sigh.

  3. What a truly inspirational post, Amanda! Have to print the whole lot out and pin them to my board!

    You have hit on all of my favorites.

    I haven’t been to the movies in so long. I really want to see Australia. (Huch Jackman, SIGH!)I bought the DVD of Atonement but I am saving it for my birthday movie, romance novel, junk food binge on Monday. I intend to spend the entire day in bed watching DVDs, reading romance novels and eating anything and everything that is bad for me. You only turn 50 once!

    The Strange Case of Benjamin Button looks good and I love Cate Blanchett. However, I am just not crazy about Brad Pitt anymore. I guess it has to do with my aversion to Angelina Jolie and the whole Brangelina thing. Having kids and adopting kids is great, but not when you drag them all over the world with no continuity at all in their lives.

    When I am trying to pump up my inspiration for writing I watch all the Jane Austen DVDs. Cheers me right up!

  4. “Aha! I have discovered a theme to your selection: “20 people who are more beautiful than Todd!””

    I think it’s a list of “People So Impossibly Beautiful They Can’t Possibly Be Human At All” πŸ™‚ I can help you with that pomegranate liquor…

    Maggie, I also love the HH movies! I may have to get those out and watch some again this weekend.

  5. Louisa, happy birthday!!! That sounds like the perfect day to me–reading, watching movies, eating good food. πŸ™‚

    This is the time of year I go see lots of movies, after not seeing very many up until the end of November (time off work+awards season=lots of good things to see). I also don’t much like Brad Pitt, so may wait for “Benjamin Button” on DVD, but I might go see “Revolutionary Road” (“Happy Go Lucky” was so–happy, I guess I need to be brought down, LOL)

  6. Diane Gaston says:

    Todd, if I were making the list I’d put you way up there above DAvid Tennant…and above both Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. Come to think about it, I’d put David Tennant above them too.

    Amanda, You made me think you were forgetting Gerard Butler!

    Happy birthday Louisa!!

  7. Greta says:


    What a cream puff of a question! I can’t think of anything I’d rather mull over in the post-Christmas haze.

    Let’s see …

    Joaquin Phoenix
    Sean Bean
    Viggo Mortenson
    Hugh Laurie
    Russell Crowe (less now than in the old days)
    Val Kilmer (again, back a while)
    Gary Oldman (in _anything_)
    Ewan McGregor
    James Purefoy (Mark Antony in Rome)
    Kevin McKidd (the “ginger” soldier in Rome)

    Yes to Kate Winslet! She is truly fabulous. (I like lots of your others, too, but I’ll leave my “amens” to Kate.)

    Maria Bello
    Claire Forlani (where’d she go, anyway?)
    Monica Belluci
    Joan Chen

    Is the Rufus picture from Tristan & Isolde? He’s done a lot of period stuff, but that’s one I haven’t seen.

  8. Elena Greene says:

    We just say The Tale of Despereaux-(not sure if it’s relevant to this post since the hottest character was a rat!) but I loved it. I thought it caught much of the spirit of the book.

  9. Scott says:

    Ah, I love most of your choices, esp. the last one. Thanks for the holiday cheer, Amanda!

    And what a darn good idea for a post–might have to steal.

  10. Sorry, that was Megan, not Scott (the husband on the shared computer).

  11. gryngolet says:

    The pic of Rufus Sewell is from “Helen of Troy” as Agamemnon.

  12. “Amanda, You made me think you were forgetting Gerard Butler”

    Ah, Diane, I could never do that! πŸ™‚

    Okay, I have totally missed any “Helen of Troy” movie with Rufus Sewell! Was it a TV thing?

  13. Santa says:

    Really? No sandy beaches? Not even the kind in a bottle? You know the kind – My *insert guilty party here* went to Aruba and all they got me was some lousy sand in a bottle. – kind of bottle…

    I like your 20 favorites. I’ll add George Clooney, Alan Rickman and James Purefoy. Strangely, I can’t think of any women.

  14. Santa says:

    Did I miss a birthday?

    Happy Birthday, Louisa!

    OH MY STARS – I nearly forgot Colin Firth and Todd, naturally.

  15. Greta says:

    Oh, and Emily Watson, too.

  16. Todd says:

    Diane wrote:

    Todd, if I were making the list I’d put you way up there above David Tennant…and above both Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. Come to think about it, I’d put David Tennant above them too.

    OK, I know when I’m being lied to, but it feels good. πŸ™‚ Thanks!


  17. Thank you all for the birthday wishes! I started my three day holiday from work this morning!!

  18. Cara King says:

    I really loved Happy-Go-Lucky too, Amanda, though I didn’t find the heroine quite as lovable as some did. (That type does annoy me some — their first response to anything is to make fun of it.)

    Louisa, I’m really looking forward to Australia, too! Though it’s already leaving the theaters around here… (So many new movies to drive it out!)

    As to other Oscar-type movies, Todd and I saw Frost/Nixon yesterday, and we’re hoping to see Milk today. Plus, we’ve already seen Happy-Go-Lucky, Rachel Getting Married, and Doubt. (Movie junkies!)

    As to my “inspirations” — hmm… Different actors inspire me in different ways. My list would include all sorts, including Russell Crowe, James McAvoy, Alan Rickman, the guy who plays Noah (HRG) on Heroes, Kevin Spacey, Lee Pace, Sir Humphry Davy, Robert Pattinson… πŸ™‚

    The women would include Rachel Weisz, Kate Winslet, Amanda Root, Jennifer Ehle, Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Cherry Jones, and Emma Thompson…

    Hope your birthday’s great, Louisa!


  19. Cara King says:

    Um, and Todd, too, of course. πŸ˜‰


  20. Fun post and love the choices. . . and pictures! Glad someone added in Colin Firth, he always goes on my list.

    I would add Jennifer Ehle – I just checked out Possession and liked her character in that. Tidbit I found out after the movie – she’s from North Carolina but half-English, her mother is Rosemary Harris.

    Also starred Jeremy Northam, who might be added to my upper 20 or so. I’m thinking my list of actors is growing!

    Oh, and we saw Marley and Me this weekend – our in-laws take us to a movie every Christmas holiday. Based on the book and a writer/columnist so I liked the writing bits. Without giving anything away, just know that you’ll need tissues, which you’ll understand if you’re a dog/animal lover. You have ups and downs with your pets.

  21. janegeorge says:

    Thanks for the eye candy!
    Makes a nice break from fudge. πŸ™‚

  22. I think I should have pointed out that these aren’t the ONLY actors I use as inspirations. πŸ™‚ Every story and character is different, and sometimes I find brand-new ones I like, and use on my inspirations board. These are just sort of all-purpose, stand-by ones, LOL!

    Cara, I went to see “Doubt” this afternoon, too! It’s amazing how Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman can play absolutely anything.

  23. Cara King says:

    Oh, I totally agree, Amanda! Meryl Streep can play anything. And Philip Seymour Hoffman is one of the most interesting actors on screen nowadays…


  24. The last two movies I saw were total duds (and I chose them!). Funnily enough, I never really know what my characters look like, or at least not until I’m well into the book.

  25. Todd says:

    Santa wrote:

    OH MY STARS – I nearly forgot Colin Firth and Todd, naturally.

    Cara wrote:

    Um, and Todd, too, of course. πŸ˜‰

    I should print this on a business card: “Professor by day–afterthought by night!” πŸ™‚

    You are all very sweet. But with Bertie around I’ve got no trouble keeping it real. πŸ™‚


  26. C’mon, how could I not comment on this post, given that it lauds Todd?! Bertie comes a close second, but Todd’s first on my (and er, Cara’s, too) list.

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